A trendy, new hashtag tempts Christians to look wise in the world's eyes. "There are 293,026 posts on Instagram utilizing the hashtag #deconstruction," reported apologetics writer Alisa Childers earlier this year. "The vast majority are from people who've deconverted from Christianity, become progressive Christians, embraced same-sex marriage and relationships, rejected core historic doctrines of the faith, or are on a mission to crush the white Christian patriarchy."
The deconstruction movement recruits from the ranks of Christian celebrities, musicians, and young, impressionable evangelicals. "Deconstruction is not sound. Deconstruction will ultimately lead to destruction itself," said Dr. Owen Strachan, Senior Fellow with FRC's Center for Biblical Worldview.
Not everyone agrees. For its defenders, Strachan explained deconstruction means the process of "challenging what you have been taught" with the goal of establishing "an authentic faith" — although this slippery term means nearly all things to all men.
Despite the innocuous-sounding definition, "deconstruction gives you license to doubt the Christian faith, to doubt the Word of God, and to turn your back on your parents' generation... and the church of the Lord Jesus Christ more broadly," warned Strachan. It "often ends up being ... an onramp to Leftism" and "takes its cues from the LGBTQ Revolution." Deconstruction has 20th Century roots in philosophers like Foucault and Derrida, founders of queer theory and post-modernism, respectively.
None of this means that Christianity prohibits honest questions, doubts, and fears. The difference is what we do with them. Deconstruction "encourages you to become the arbiter of what is true" and "the master of your faith," said Strachan. It denies the authority of God and his Word and promotes Self to the godlike task of curating your own personal religion, just as you do your smartphone. Genuine Christian faith, by contrast, brings challenges and struggles before "the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16). It cries with the father, "I believe; help my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24).
The difference carries over from belief to practice. "Any church worth its salt is going to teach you that you need to not conform to yourself or to the world, but you need to conform to the Scripture and specifically to the image of Jesus Christ ... That's what every Christian is seeking to do by the grace of God," said Strachan. "Deconstruction sounds similar, but what it actually executes is something quite different." Most deconstructors embrace the culture, approving sexual anarchy, then denying hell, then embracing universalism, and eventually becoming functional atheists.
The results speak for themselves. By the grace of God, a few genuine Christians have survived their attempts at deconstruction — and have returned to "the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3). But far more have "made shipwreck of their faith" (1 Timothy 1:19). They are seeds sown on rocky ground, which "has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away" (Matthew 13:21).
Christians don't need to embrace "deconstruction" to grow in godliness. We have the perfectly true Word of God, interpreted by the infallible Spirit of God, who has sealed us in Jesus Christ. These weapons of our warfare are invincible, if we will only make use of them. "The market [price] for truth has never been higher," said Strachan. Prominent deconstructions notwithstanding, falling away is not inevitable. "The cause of Jesus Christ is going to win," Strachan reminded listeners. Pastors and parents should work to faithfully instruct the children in their care. All Christians should take courage and stand.
Originally published at the Family Research Council.
Joshua Arnold is Media Coordinator for Family Research Council.